RCGP: testing strategy should focus on clinical need, not targets


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is calling on the health secretary to move away from “hitting targets” to testing “the right people at the right time” to ease lockdown and avoid a second wave of COVID-19.

In a letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, RCGP Chair Professor Martin Marshall says that while testing capacity has now increased significantly, GPs are concerned that current arrangements are undermining confidence in the process and results.

He is calling on the health secretary for a joined-up strategy across the NHS, including social care and community care, with a focus on making sure that "the right people are tested at the right time" to protect vulnerable patients, key workers and the wider population.

The College is calling for:

  • pathology labs to update GP records with test results to help contact tracing.
  • testing kits to be readily available for patients with symptoms.
  • guidance for GPs on how to assist patients in accessing tests.

Professor Marshall writes: “Now that testing capacity has increased, it is essential that we move away from a focus on hitting targets, to having a comprehensive testing strategy that has the confidence of both the medical profession and wider population. We should be taking a joined-up approach across the NHS, social care and community care including care homes.”